Kalei Coffee Co. is a brand new coffee shop and micro-roastery that sources the world's highest quality coffee beans directly from farmers around the world. In Ethiopia, coffee is consumed in a three-step ceremony, one of which is called 'Kalei', and the people at Kalei certainly treat coffee as an experience, rather than a simple drink.

The shop is nestled at the end of Mar Mikhael and much like a secret club, you’ll need someone to guide you there with precise directions referencing the graffiti and building texture, lead you by hand holding, or send you the exact location because there’s an incredibly slim (0%) chance anyone will stumble upon this café.

My first mistake was assuming I could ask people in the neighborhood where it was. Nope. Then I thought I’d catch a glance of it after searching the area. Nope. I swiftly called my friend Rand- who sent me the location and gave me directions. After a good 10 minutes of wandering around hoping that the WhatsApp disclaimer “accurate to 93 meters” didn’t apply, I wandered right into Kalei.

To help you out, here is how you find the place: go up the street that Junkyard is located on in Mar Mikhael. Keep going straight until the road ends then turn left. After about 30 meters there will be a small alleyway to your right with graffiti all over the walls. Turn into the alleyway and walk straight up. Before the stairs on your left is Kalei. You will see a small sign out front with just their logo. 

While the hidden location didn’t bother me, it bothered my café buddy a lot.

When I got to the café I was delightfully surprised to find a spacious exterior, a well-ventilated interior. So many structures that are renovated are not thorough enough, leaving out proper AC and stable elements. However, the building was renovated in all the right places; the bathrooms were neat, styled, and updated, while the walls were peeling on queue. Even the doors were updated gracefully. The staff was incredibly helpful and courteous. They seemed to have sprouted with the concept of the café, and not recruited. There is also a cozy outdoor area.

I ordered a cold brew, which came labeled with the exact type of coffee that was used to make it. It also came with a homemade molasses cake bite. This presentation was thoughtful and really brought back the main passion of the café; coffee. I also ordered a vegan carrot cake slice which I was pretty displeased with, something I can only attribute the discomfort to the overwhelming amount of ginger in the cake. My café buddy was very pleased with the avocado toast and ginger tea he ordered. He ordered the gluten free option of the toast, which was better than other gluten free toasts in Beirut.

Overall, it is incredibly refreshing to have a new coffee house that isn’t just a brand. Kalei Coffee Co. is a refreshing new spot to chat, work, relax, and most importantly drink really good coffee.

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This is the frst really useful and well done short article I have read on Beirut.com in a while! Good job! I'm gonna go looking for this coffee shop!

Salam Baba on Oct 4, 2016 via web